Seven book experiences I’ve never had

April 13, 2012 by


1. I’ve never listened to an audiobook

Despite all my favourite podcasts now telling me to, I haven’t yet. I think the podcast people are getting into bed with the wrong sponsors. I have very little time these days to listen to podcasts, and if I were to buy an audiobook I would listen to it in podcast time. ‘Podcast time’, sounds like I set aside a little bit of time to make a cup of tea, put on my comfy slippers, sit outside in the sun, maybe have a cookie or a muffin and listen to podcasts. I don’t. I’m much cooler than that. I don’t own slippers. And I’m allergic to being outside for extended periods of time.


2. A book has never made me cry

I’m not a robot. I sobbed at the end of Toy Story 3. I cry when I’m given really thoughtful and heartfelt gifts. But I’ve never been reduced to tears by a book. I read a lot and quite widely. I don’t know what it is that has stopped me, perhaps my relationship to books is somehow disconnected from my emotions? I don’t know. Although most of the books I read are about space/aliens/robots/psychopaths/ or some combination of the four.


3. I’ve never sat in a bar in France, smoking a Gauloise while reading a paperback on philosophy

You can’t smoke at bars in France anymore so that one is so off the list.


4. I’ve never read anything by Jane Austen

…and it’s not because I’m a man. People keep telling me to read Jane Austen and because I’m a miserable contrarian, I have to do the opposite. Plus I think she’d be against the whole ebook thing.

My friend: “You can’t be a book lover and not read any Jane Austen. Here, borrow my copy of Persuasion.”

Me: “Thanks for the offer, but I’m busy reading this book where Abraham Lincoln fights a Triceratops*.”

My friend: “Well, when you’ve finished that book, why not try Pride and Prejudice?”

Me: “I don’t know. Mr. Darcy getting out of a lake with his shirt all wet isn’t my thing.”

My friend: *sigh* “He’s so dreamy.”


5. I’ve never enjoyed a book so much that I started reading it again, immediately after finishing it

Who has the time? There are books I love that I keep coming back to, but never straight away. I’m not afraid to say that anyone who tells you they’ve done this is a liar and shouldn’t be trusted around your young children.


6. I’ve never read a series of books in one go

There always has to be a healthy gap between books in the same series. There’s a whole world of stories out there and I often feel like I’m missing out when I spend too long with one author. This is also known as ‘the George R.R. Martin rule’.


7. I’ve never borrowed a book that I didn’t return

[I wanted to find an image of two people laughing while they exchange a book. But after literally minutes of searching I couldn’t find one. Use your imagination.]

That’s right, I’m the most trustworthy book borrower on the planet. If you loan me a book, BAM! I read it and return it ASAP. Please note, that by ASAP, I mean I’m lying. It takes ages.

To all my friends who want to say ‘hey you still have my copy of [blank]’, please don’t leave a comment below.


*this is actually a real book.

  • Christina

    Mark, I’m totally with you on all of the above non-experiences…yay, we’re not alone!

    • Yay! Although from the conversations I’ve been having, I think we’re a rare breed. 

  • Hayley

    Wait wait wait! Is number three true? I’m going to France in two weeks and was extremely excited about being able to smoke in bars…

    • I was in Paris in early 2008 and they had just passed a law banning smoking in bars. You can still do it if you sit on the sidewalk, I think. Plus, not sure if it was all of France or just Paris. 

  • Hayley

    And I find numbers 2, 6 and 7 UNBELIEVABLE. I mean, I believe you, but I just don’t understand…

    • I don’t understand either. I so want to be a book-stealing-saga-reading-crybaby, but I’m just not there. 

  • joelnaoum

    I must say, the first time I cried when I read a book it was a bit of a surprise. I didn’t think it could happen. Now I basically think that if you haven’t you’re probably less of a human being than me.

  • I can’t think of any books that made me cry, but that’s probably more to do with my cry-function having been disabled. 

    Also, audio books put me to sleep. I tried listening to CJ Sansom while driving once, and it was even more dangerous for other road users than usual. 

  • Vani

    I cry all the freaking time when I read books. I think it might be better to come across as a robot rather than an overly-labile bleeding heart?

    Okay, seriously? I don’t think your friend ever said Mr Darcy was ‘dreamy’ while ‘sighing’.

    And Jane Austen was so smart & ahead of her times, she’d probably think ebooks are totally boss. But having never read anything by her, you wouldn’t know that.

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